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Eastern's Rathbun, Cooper are NFCA All-America Picks

                     sports-rathbun head 72dpi_2758.jpg                      sports-cooper head 72_2737.jpg

Eastern senior right-handed pitcher/designated player Molly Rathbun, of Hebron, and junior third baseman Arielle Cooper, of Mystic, have been named to the 2012 National Fastpitch Coaches' Association (NFCA) Division III All-America team. Rathbun becomes the first member of the program to earn the honor each season of a four-year career, while Cooper becomes the program's first third baseman to receive the honor since Michelle Cunningham was named to the second team in 1998.

Rathbun was named to the first team for the third straight year after gaining second-team accolades as a freshman. Cooper was honored for the first time in her career, earning a spot as the only third baseman on the second team. Rathbun was also named to the All-New England Region first team for the fourth straight season while Cooper was selected all-region for the second team, the first time to the first team.

Rathbun completed a record-shattering career this spring by winning a program-record 33 games against three losses with a program-record 339 strikeouts and just 39 walks and a 0.73 ERA in 212 1/3 innings. She won 29 straight decisions heading into NCAA regional play and ended up beating every team that she had a decision against at least once. In addition to strikeouts, innings and wins, Rathbun also set season marks this year for appearances (42) and starts (29). She threw two no-hitters and also a perfect game against regional champion Tufts University.

Cooper smashed the program record with a 33-game hitting streak, set season marks with 123 total bases, tied the 26-year-old mark with 69 hits, tied the season record with a .783 slugging average and led all players with a .439 batting average, which equals the fifth highest in a season in program history. She was named MVP of the LEC tournament with nine hits and seven assists in the field without an error.

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